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Runway Ready

Provincetown Celebrates Its First Fashion Weekend

by Steve Desroches

Photo -Top:  A design by Jonathan Joseph Peters, one of the organizers of Provincetown Fashion Weekend.

Provincetown and fashion might seem like strange bedfellows considering how casual of a locale it is. Flip-flops, shorts, and a t-shirt are certainly considered appropriate attire most everywhere in the summer, as Provincetown fiercely eschews such oppressive conventions as neckties or high heels. Try to sketch out a “Provincetown look” and you’ll get as many images as there are people on Commercial Street. However, this is a town founded on self-expression, and that certainly spills over into fashion. The large number of locally owned clothing retailers signifies what both locals and visitors love for their unique vision and imagination. From drag queen gowns to the large number of boutique t-shirts shops to the invitation to be as outrageous as you like (or not), Commercial Street is indeed a fashion runway all its own. So it seems both entirely appropriate and yet surprising that the very first Provincetown Fashion Weekend hits town starting Friday at the Pilgrim House.

© Design by Sarah Prost

Founded by Scott Coffey, owner and designer of Coffey Men, Jonathan Joseph Peters, season 7 cast member of Project Runway, and Daniel Evangelista, employee at clothier Henry & Company, Provincetown Fashion Weekend brings to town an organized aspect of this artistic expression with a specifically Ptown flair.

“Most of the fashion is fetish leather gear,” says Coffey. “But I haven’t been to the Red Inn in a little while so I don’t know what people where to dinner now.”

“You need to get out more,” says Peters. “Fashion does not have to be fancy. Fashion is an expression. It can come from anywhere.”

“I’m joking, of course,” says Coffey. “But Provincetown is not the Hamptons. Here fashion is self-expression. Is there a Provincetown look? Probably not. And there shouldn’t be. You decide for yourself.”

While fashion is all over the map in Provincetown, Fashion Weekend will present the work of five designers showing men’s and women’s wear in a fun, varied, and accessible event that begins with an opening party Friday night at 7 p.m., followed by a runway show and party on Saturday at 8 p.m., and a fashion brunch on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Rather than a gathering of fashion buyers, celebrities, and power brokers, Provincetown Fashion Weekend is a gathering of artists, featuring Jess Abernathy and season 12 Project Runway cast member Joseph Aaron Segal with his label Pretty Snake, both from Providence, Sarah Prost from Keene, New Hampshire, with her label Yellow Clover, and local designs from Coffey and  Peters, and the label Lords of Harlech as presented by men’s clothing shop Kenneth Scott.

© Design by Scott Coffey

The Cape tip has been an important place to share ideas for a number of artistic forms, from the visual arts to theater. With Provincetown Fashion Weekend the organizers hope to create that space for designers as well as to invite more to come to Provincetown to contribute to the work done by the art colony here. Again, fashion design is not new to town, with names like Daniel Cleary and Mary DeAngelis as examples of local designers. Fashion design has always occupied a low-key position in a town bursting with creativity as well as propelling the culture of locally owned businesses and how important that is to a town like Provincetown. Rather than mass-manufactured goods, it’s apparent that shoppers here prefer something regionally made or designed, something with a distinctive point of view rather than the generic and bland born of focus groups. It’s the difference between buying a painting at a gallery or a print at the mall. In Provincetown you can buy clothes you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere, including the Internet.

This event is not necessarily about selling clothes, but on Saturday participating retailers throughout town will be hosting special receptions and trunk shows. And at Friday’s opening reception there will be an artisans’ market, featuring accessories and makeup from local manufacturer Three Custom Color Specialists, Fashion Weekend’s beauty sponsor. Anna Wintour will not be there.  It’s more about having a good time. This is a decidedly laid back affair, with all the events free, presented in the friendly atmosphere of the Pilgrim House, a point that is often repeated by the founders, as fashion can conjure up images of snobbery and elitism. Everyone is encouraged to come dressed up, in whatever definition of “dressed up” they have. It’s about having fun and feeling good.

© Design by Jonathan Joseph Peters

“Ptown is wild, it’s fun, it’s crazy,” says Evangelista. “You’ll see a guy in a suit one day and in leather gear the next. It’s all about fun. It’s about expressing who you are. It’s all about being who you are. That’s fashion AND Provincetown.”

Provincetown Fashion Weekend will take place  at the Pilgrim House, 336 Commercial St. Friday, May 11 through Sunday, May 13. All events are free, though organizers do ask attendees to RSVP at [email protected]. For more information call 508.487.6424 or visit


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Graphic Artist

Ginger Mountain

Ginger Mountain (MS Communications Media, BA Fine Arts/Teaching Certification K-12) has been part of the graphic design team at Provincetown Magazine since 2008. Ginger has worked as a creative director, individual contractor, and freelance designer with clients representing many areas —business software, consumer products, professional services, entertainment, and network hardware to name just a few — providing creative layout and development of a wide range of print media content. Her clients ranged from small local businesses to large corporations and Fortune 500 companies, from New Hampshire to Georgia

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